Marriage equality gives legal rights to same-sex couples

COMMIT: Catriona Good and Katherine Cape marry at the British Consulate. Their marriage will be among the first to be recognised in Australia.
COMMIT: Catriona Good and Katherine Cape marry at the British Consulate. Their marriage will be among the first to be recognised in Australia.

BALLARAT wives Katherine Cape and Catriona Good are among the first to become a married couple under Australian law.

Ms Cape and Ms Good’s union on British soil last month will be recognised from this weekend, with the Marriage Amendment Bill passed on Thursday and signed for royal assent by the Governor-General on Friday morning.

The couple will lead the way for other LGBTIQ couples in Ballarat who are already planning their weddings for early next year. 

Ms Cape said support from within the Ballarat community for her wedding had been lovely. She could hardly wait for other same-sex couples to experience their own ceremonies, and the joy that comes with it.

“We’re delighted about the law passing, not just for us, but for our friends to enjoy the same celebration we both loved,” Ms Cape said.

“The actual ceremony and the party at the reception afterwards was not only meaningful for us, but also for the people celebrating with us.”

Ms Cape and Ms Good had been together 22 years but, after not long realising they could marry in the consulate, brought their wedding forward in a bid to put a positive spin on the Australian postal survey on marriage equality.

Formal recognition of their marriage also clears up any greyness about being each other’s next of kin, a detail that was really important to them both.

Darren Dubberley and Dave Harrison are also looking forward to being legally recognised as family when they wed in March. 

“It means that we are equal to everybody and it’s going to make a big difference if we get sick and when we are dying,” Mr Dubberley said. 

"If we are going to hospital we know we are not going to be turned away and when we die there will be no arguments about our wills; it's those things straight people take for granted and those things we really wanted.”

Mr Dubberley and Mr Harrison are excited to share their love in a way denied to them for so long. 

“I'm really excited, it’s finally going to happen and it’s not marriage equality anymore, it's just marriage.”